Dr. Sree Kurissery, one of the founding faculty members of Lakehead’s Orillia campus, now chairs the Department of Sustainability Sciences.
As part of our celebrations of Lakehead University’s 50th Anniversary, I spoke to some of our faculty and staff to learn more about their experiences at both the Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses. My conversation with Dr. Sree Kurissery, associate professor of Biology and chair of the Sustainability Sciences department, is the third of a six-part series.
When did you start working at Lakehead?
Can you describe your first impression of Lakehead in three words?
Beautiful and welcoming. There were also lots of opportunities for career development.
Are there any exceptional or meaningful moments that standout in your memory from your time in Thunder Bay?
My days as a researcher in the Applied Microbiology lab: An amazing group of Biology department colleagues and students.
What is one thing you want people to know about Lakehead, or an interesting fact that not many people know about?
I like the way we describe ourselves in the mission statement – an “innovative comprehensive university” experience that Lakehead offers its students. For me it means everything together, from teaching to research to social activities. Students here are given the opportunity to get such a well-rounded education.
What personal success are you most proud of accomplishing during your time in Thunder Bay?
My favourite field of research is Biofilms and Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion and I have been publishing in those areas during my career prior to Lakehead. During my time at Lakehead Thunder Bay, I had the opportunity to continue research in those areas and to keep publishing and I think that is the personal success I am most proud of accomplishing while in Thunder Bay.
What is a Lakehead-wide achievement that you think the entire Lakehead community should be proud of?
Being a member of Orillia’s founding faculty, I experienced the excitement as well as the challenges of the growth of Orillia campus, so when I think about Lakehead’s achievements, the first thing that comes to my mind is establishing the Orillia campus. There are lots of reasons to be proud of the Orillia campus. Student enrolment is something that usually comes to peoples’ minds first as a reason to be proud, but to me I am proud to be a part of something new and the innovative opportunities that come along. Being able to expand the Lakehead experience across Southern Ontario, that was a great thing to do, and as a teacher I am proud of being a part of that.
How did you first hear about Orillia/the development of the Orillia campus?
Through Lakehead’s internal communications.
What was the biggest reason behind your motivation to cross the province and come to Orillia?
Being part of something new and being able to contribute to its growth. I had the opportunity to spearhead the development of a new program, the Honours Bachelor of Arts and Science in Environmental Sustainability. I had the opportunity to be a part of the creation of the Research Centre for Sustainable Communities. Looking back, I have a lot of good memories!
What is one similarity between the two campuses and one difference?
Lakehead’s motto is ‘one university, two campuses’, so everything is similar through my eyes. Differences are the geographic locations and the size of the campuses.
What do you hope Lakehead can achieve in its next 50 years?
Short term – I would like to see a world-class research centre for environment established at Lakehead Orillia. Long term – there isn’t a single answer, or a single thing I can say. Lakehead has a lot of potential thanks to our dedicated administration, faculty, and staff. So I would say the sky is the limit!
I’m very happy to be a part of the Lakehead family because of the opportunities it provides and the great people I’ve met. I really enjoy working with my colleagues, students, and the staff and seeing the constant smiles on their faces. It is a totally enjoyable atmosphere to be in.
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Stephanie Edwards is a fourth year Lakehead University student who works with Lakehead Orillia’s Communications office.
Celebrate with Us!
• Lakehead University's 50th Anniversary • 1965-2015
• Lakehead Orillia Homecoming: November 12 & 13, 2015
• Don't miss our 50th Anniversary Homecoming Dinner & Dance Party – a '60s Celebration! Enjoy a night of dinner and dancing at Casino Rama – November 13, with entertainment by Lance Anderson's Hitsville Revisited – The Music of Motown
• To purchase tickets, or to learn more about Lakehead’s 50th Anniversary events, visit 50.lakeheadu.ca